Category Archives: Obama

Why Speaking the Truth About Islamic Terrorism Matters

I had planned to weigh in on the slaughter in Orlando right after it happened, but a sense of nausea intervened.

There was plenty of nausea to go around. You might think that the chief catalyst would be the scene of slaughter itself: the nearly fifty revelers at a gay nightclub dead, and scores more wounded by a single jihadist.

In a normal world, the spectacle of that carnage would have been the focus of revulsion. I confess, however, that the repetition of such acts of theocratic barbarism these past few decades has left me somewhat anesthetized.

The long, long list of “Islamist terrorist attacks” that Wikipedia maintains comes with this mournful advisory:

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.

Indeed, and alas. Take a look at that list: one thing you will note — apart from the fact that the terrorist attacks are correctly denominated as “Islamist” terrorist attacks — is that most years include more attacks than the years before.

There were some 35 in 2014. I stopped counting at 100 for 2015.

So my initial reaction to the news from Orlando was a mixture of anger, outrage — and weariness. “Here,” I said to myself, “we go again.”

First came the casualty figures. Twenty dead. No, make that 30. Wait, it’s 40, no, 50 dead and scores wounded, many gravely. And the murderer? The world held its breath and the media prayed: Please, please, please make him a white Christian NRA member, or at least a crazed white teenager.

No such luck. Omar Mateen was the 29-year-old scion of Afghan immigrants. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Right off the bat his father assured the world that he was “saddened” by the massacre (wasn’t that nice?) and that Omar was “a good son.” Religion, he said, had “nothing to do with” his son’s rampage. He was just “angry” at gay people. So he suited up and headed down to the Pulse nightclub where he methodically shot some 100 people. Oh, and Mateen père has supported the Taliban, and claims to be running for the presidency of Afghanistan. (Cue the theme music from The Twilight Zone?)

It did not take long before the media realized that none of its preferred narratives was operative.

There was a flicker of hope that Mateen might at least be a gay-hating nearly white male (shades of George Zimmerman, the “white Hispanic“). But, no, although Mateen himself might, according to his ex-wife and others, have been gay, he hadpledged himself to ISIS. He had also, in fact, attracted the interest of the FBI. It hadinterviewed him twice but decided that there was nothing to see here, move along please.

In most respects, this act of Islamic slaughter was a matter of déjà-vu all over again. There was the wrinkle that the Pulse, unlike the nightclub in Bali or the concert hall in Paris, was patronized mostly by gays. But homosexuals are only one of many groups that Islamists wish to exterminate. (Hence the Arab slogan “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” which can be seen and heard through the Middle East. First we’ll get rid of the Jews, then the Christians.)

And this brings me to the chief source of my nausea in response to the massacre in Orlando: the rancid, untruthful, politically correct nonsense emitted by the MSM and their chief pet, Barack Obama.

Obama’s speech in response to the massacre was especially emetic. Who or what was to blame for the slaughter? The internet, for one thing:

[T]he killer took in extremist information and propaganda over the Internet. … He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.

Remember when Obama dismissed ISIS (or, as he likes to say, “ISIL”) as a “jay-vee” threat? That was right before those jihadists really got to work beheading people, burning them alive, and fomenting murder and mayhem in the West. Part of Obama’s speech was devoted to listing all the Islamic murderers his administration had killed or deprived of funds:

ISIL continues to lose ground in Iraq. ISIL continues to lose ground in Syria as well. ISIL’s ranks are shrinking as well. Their morale is sinking.

Feeling better?

Obama also reserved a few swats for guns:

We have to make it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on weapons of war that let them kill dozens of innocents.

But what if a few patrons of the Pulse had been packing heat and had had the good sense to hone their skills as marksmen? The same thing that would have happened at Virginia Tech, or Newtown, or the Paris concert, or the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Some enterprising citizen might have taken the madman, or madmen, out, thus materially diminishing or even eliminating the body count.

But Obama’s main concern focused on a linguistic matter, the phrase “radical Islam”:

[T]he main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us. We can’t beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists.

This is not true. No one has said that the word “Islam” or its cognates is the key to anything. What they — and I — have repeatedly said is that you can never deal with a problem unless you are willing to recognize it for what it really is. And part of that recognition involves calling things by their real names:

Since before I was president, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.

Two points: first, extremist groups have not so much perverted Islam as they have enforced some of its central teachings.

As Andrew McCarthy put it: “Killing Homosexuals Is Not ISIS Law, It Is Muslim Law.”

Andy cites chapter and verse to show how the interdiction against homosexuality is rooted in Sharia, i.e., in Islamic law. I’ll just quote one passage, from the “moderate” Ayatollah al-Sistani. When asked “What is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?”, he replied:

Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.

Got that?

Which brings me to my second point: Obama’s “Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world.” That would include that ally of allies, Saudi Arabia, one of at least ten Muslim countries where homosexuality is punishable by death (and which, incidentally, is reportedly responsible for at least 20% of the funds for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign).

Obama took time out to castigate “politicians who tweet,” i.e., Donald Trump. You may think, as I do, that some of Trump’s proposals about how to deal with the reality of Islamic terrorism (among other things) are extravagant.

But at least he is able to call Islamic terrorism “Islamic terrorism.”

Obama angrily insisted:

Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.

But this is no merely linguistic nicety. Barack Obama has consistently failed to deal with the “Islamic” part of the reality of Islamic terrorism. Indeed, his administration has prevented the military, law enforcement, and intelligence services from engaging forthrightly with the threat of Islamic terrorism. They have insisted, for example, that briefing materials be purged of any reference to the real source of the terrorist animus: the passion for jihad fired by allegiance to the fundamental law of Islam, sharia.

In his almost eight years in office, Obama has left this country, and indeed the world, poorer, more chaotic, more vulnerable. Perhaps it was all part of his promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” It is worth remembering what an important role his mendacious refusal to call things by their real names has played in this sorry, nauseating tale.

“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked Romeo. She found to her sorrow that the answer was “quite a lot.” Obama, if he has the wit to acknowledge it, will discover that as well.

White House admits lying to sell Iran deal

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BY STUART WINER///A senior official in the Obama administration acknowledged that the background to nuclear talks with Iran was misrepresented in order to sell the impression of a more moderate Iranian regime and thus gain greater American public support for an agreement.

The revelation came in a profile of Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes written by New York Times reporter David Samuels and published on Thursday.

In the same piece, former CIA head Leon Panetta speculated that whereas US President Barack Obama may once have been prepared to use military force to stop the development of an Iranian bomb, he doubts the same resolve exists today.

In conversations with Rhodes, Samuels learned how the administration claimed that key talks with Iran began in 2013, after the election of a seemingly more moderate Iranian government led by Hassan Rouhani, when in fact negotiations had begun and formed the basis of what was to become Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action months earlier in 2012 under the previous hard-line Iranian presidency.

In July 2015, Iran and world powers inked the JCPOA, in which Tehran agreed to dismantle weapons producing elements of its nuclear program in return for the lifting of severe economic sanctions.

Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as many in the Senate, fiercely opposed the deal, which they said did not go far enough in removing Iran’s ability to attain a nuclear weapons capability.

Rhodes explained how policies were considered in which reconciliation with adversaries trumped pleasing existing allies.

“We can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, ‘AIPAC doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Israeli government doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the gulf countries don’t like it,’” Rhodes said. “It’s the possibility of improved relations with adversaries. It’s nonproliferation.”

Foreign ministers sit around the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel, where the Iran nuclear negotiations were being held in Vienna, Austria on July 6, 2015. (AFP/POOL/CARLOS BARRIA)

Foreign ministers sit around the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel, where the Iran nuclear negotiations were being held in Vienna, Austria on July 6, 2015. (AFP/Pool/Carlos Barria)

“The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,” Samuels wrote.

“Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false,” he continued.

According to the NY Times interview, the final proposal for an interim agreement that became the basis for JCPOA was completed in March 2013, three months before the “moderate” Rouhani took office as president.

Obama told the altered version to the world, including when saying, in a July 14, 2015 speech, “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.”

“The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration,” Samuels writes. “By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making.”

Samuels also interviewed Panetta, former head of the CIA and former secretary of defense for the Obama administration for his take on the Iran deal. Panetta admitted that at no point during the contacts with Iran did the CIA assess the Tehran regime as being divided into hard-line and moderate factions.

“There was not much question that the Quds Force [a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards ] and the supreme leader ran that country with a strong arm, and there was not much question that this kind of opposing view could somehow gain any traction.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with the-then US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Washington DC, USA, March 06, 2012. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with then US secretary of defense Leon Panetta in Washington DC on March 6, 2012. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90)

In his role as secretary of defense, Panetta was tasked with ensuring that Netanyahu and his then defense minister Ehud Barak didn’t launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. A major point was whether or not Israel could rely on the US resorting to force if necessary to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons. Whereas once it could, now Panetta said he was not so sure.

Netanyahu and Barak “were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ ” Panetta said. “And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.”

“Would I make that same assessment now?” Panetta continued. “Probably not.”

In Panetta’s opinion, Obama doubted the usefulness of large-scale military force, seeing such action as more likely to produce negative effects.

“I think the whole legacy that he was working on was, ‘I’m the guy who’s going to bring these wars to an end, and the last goddamn thing I need is to start another war,’” he said. “If you ratchet up sanctions, it could cause a war. If you start opposing their interest in Syria, well, that could start a war, too.”

Rhodes admitted the administration still has doubts over the reformative nature of Rouhani and others, such as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was a key negotiator in the hammering out the final nuclear deal.

“Look, with Iran, in a weird way, these are state-to-state issues,” Rhodes said. “They’re agreements between governments. Yes, I would prefer that it turns out that Rouhani and Zarif are real reformers who are going to be steering this country into the direction that I believe it can go in, because their public is educated and, in some respects, pro-American. But we are not betting on that.”

Obama transfers $2 billion, artifacts back to Iran

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I suggest you not read this story until your breakfast is fully digested.

The Obama administration has been secretly returning artifacts in the possession of the U.S. back to Iran as part of a general “détente” with the terrorist regime.  They also transferred nearly $2 billion in taxpayer money to Tehran and are discussing more as part of a settlement dealing with Iran’s claims.  The information is contained in a letter from a State Department official obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Absolutely no word on any U.S. claims regarding the appropriation of U.S. property, including our embassy, nor damages paid to American hostages for being held more than a year as prisoners.

Obama administration officials engaged in secret talks with Iran between June 2014 through at least January 2015 over a series of legal claims leveled against the United States by the Islamic Republic, the State Department disclosed in its letter.

“These discussions led to the settlement of claims for architectural drawings, which are now in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and for fossils, which are now in the possession of Iran’s Ministry of the Environment, and the parties also discussed the possibility of broader settlements,” the State Department wrote, in response to an inquiry launched in January by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.).

The Obama administration is seeking further settlements with Tehran to transfer assets, according to the State Department.

The administration’s latest admission about the backroom dealings with Iran were offered in response to a broader inquiry launched by Pompeo, who is seeking further information about the Obama administration’s payment of $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds to Iran, which many viewed as a “ransom payment” for Iran’s release of several U.S. hostages in January.

The administration’s official response to Pompeo was sent earlier this week, just days after a Free Beacon report detailing a months-long State Department effort to stall the lawmaker’s inquiry.

“After nearly two months of stalling, the State Department confirmed what I feared was true: the Obama administration is negotiating behind closed doors with the Islamic Republic of Iran and using taxpayer dollars to pay the regime,” Pompeo said in a statement on the letter. “Worse yet, more of these payments are likely coming.”

“Secretary Kerry still refuses to answer whether the $1.7 billion U.S. payment to Iran was related to the release of American hostages held by Iran,” Pompeo continued. “While we celebrate the return of these hostages, this administration could be setting a dangerous precedent, as innocent Americans continue to be held in Iran. I will not stop until we have all of the answers and will do all in my power to stop the Obama administration’s dangerous Iran policy.”

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at this nauseating groveling by the Obama administration.  The Iranians kidnap our diplomats, trash the embassy and turn it into a museum, and financed terrorist attacks against the U.S., including the bombing of our Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.  Meanwhile, Obama genuflects before the mullahs and unilaterally parts with cash and artifacts.

I don’t think even Hillary Clinton would stoop so low.  She, at least, has a far more realistic view of Iran and doesn’t see the Iranians as the benign holy men Obama sees.  But the damage done is irreparable.  We are trapped by a treaty that is impossible to police, and by the time anyone gets into office who could alter it, most of Iran’s frozen assets will have been returned.